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Road Atlanta Wednesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Wednesday notebook from Road Atlanta…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***In a bid to further strengthen its GTD title hopes, Turner Motorsport has drafted in Christoffer Nygaard to team with Markus Palttala and championship leader Dane Cameron. Silver-rated Nygaard, who makes his TUDOR United SportsCar Championship debut, is fresh off GTE-Am class victory in last month’s FIA WEC round at COTA with Paul Dalla Lana, who gave up his Petit Le Mans race seat for the Danish ace.

***Alessandro Latif and Andrew Palmer rejoin Flying Lizard Motorsports as third drivers this weekend. Latif joins Seth Neiman and Dion von Moltke in the No. 35 Audi R8 LMS, while Palmer makes his second start in four races but this time in the No. 45 entry with Spencer Pumpelly and Nelson Canache. The team seeks its first class victory in what’s been a rough second half of the season.

***OAK Racing hasn’t ruled out a full-season return to the TUDOR Championship next year, even if customer Ligier JS P2s are competing in the U.S., according to team principal Philippe Dumas. The French squad is considering leaving its Ligier-Honda in Florida to prepare for next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring. Dumas said a full-season program would be dependent on budget.

***This year’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda will strictly be a 10-hour race instead of the previous 1,000-mile/10-hour format. In its 16-year history, the race had never reached the maximum time limit. IMSA made the format switch this year for television and marketing purposes.

***It’s a new era for the event, particularly without LMP1 machinery. Remarkably, there are no former overall Petit Le Mans winners entered in this year’s race, both drivers and teams. However, both Risi Competizione and DeltaWing Racing Cars carry lineage from Doyle-Risi Racing and Panoz Motor Sports, which won here in 1998 and 1999, respectively.

***There have been no Balance of Performance adjustments to TUDOR Championship competitors since last month’s Lone Star Le Mans, other than a 1 mm larger refueling restrictor for the DeltaWing as well as altitude and temperature compensation to the turbo-powered prototypes. The GTLM and GTD classes reached their maximum number of season-long BoP changes prior to the COTA round.

***Despite rules allowing for up to four drivers per car, a trio of teams have opted for two-driver lineups this weekend. Michael Shank Racing (Ozz Negri/John Pew), PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports (Gunnar Jeannette/Frankie Montecalvo) and Snow Racing (Jan Heylen/Madison Snow) have opted to use their season-long drivers only. Negri was also part of the two-driver lineup for 8Star Motorsports here last year, which saw the Brazilian and Sean Rayhall claim a podium finish in their PC class debut.

***Earl Bamber is the second IMSA-rated Silver driver to get promoted to the factory Porsche North America squad this year, as Michael Christensen started the season off on Silver grading, but has since been upgraded to Gold. Bamber, who currently leads the Porsche Superup standings, was originally slated to drive the NGT Motorsport Porsche in GTD prior to getting the call up from the factory.

***Porsche Carrera Cup GB front-runner Daniel Lloyd makes his TUDOR Championship debut in the No. 19 Muehlner Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America with Mark Kvamme. The remainder of the lineup, as well as the possible entry of the No. 18 Porsche, has yet to be finalized, according to team owner Bernhard Muehlner.

***A number of TUDOR Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge drivers are pulling double, and in one case triple duty, this weekend, by also taking part in the season-ending Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America round. The list includes Andy Lally, Lawson Aschenbach, Terry Borcheller and Pierre Klienubing.

***While Extreme Speed Motorsports has withdrawn its two-car HPD ARX-03b effort this weekend, the Scott Sharp-owned team is still present at Road Atlanta with a pair of IMSA Prototype Lites entries for Madison Snow and his younger brother, McKay, who makes his series debut.

***Despite being tied for second in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup Prototype standings, Sage Karam is not in this weekend’s season finale. The 19-year-old Chip Ganassi Racing driver took part in the opening three NAEC rounds either in the Nos. 01 or 02 Riley-Fords but Ganassi has opted for a single-car approach for Petit Le Mans, with Scott Dixon joining Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the No. 01 machine.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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